The SVRA ("Sportscar Vintage Racing Association") held its 2013 National Championships this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. For any fan of automotive, racing, or engineering history, it was a completely intoxicating experience. Access to the paddock is virtually unlimited (hot pits are restricted, of course); the owners and drivers are generally friendly if you respect their need to work on the cars when necessary; and there were more than 500 historic machines that ran the gamut from recently-retired Formula 1 cars to some of the very first automobiles that were built solely for racing.
Here, we are under the hood with Brian Blain, the owner and driver of this 1911 National Indy racer. Yes, this very car (driven by Charlie Merz) finished seventh at the 1911 running of the Indianapolis 500! And it was racing on Saturday! Mr. Blain and his ride-along mechanic (who spends his time operating the fuel pump, among other duties) had this strong old girl close to 100 mph at points on the new course. I have included as a WS a shot of this car, at speed.
The powerplant here is a reminder of 19th-century engineering. Brass plumbing cools two columns that each hold two cylinders. The "T" head contains dual ignitions (two spark plugs for each cylinder), and the four cylinders displace a total of 460 cubic inches (7.5 litres!) and makes approximately 100 horsepower. And yes, the "firewall" is made of wood!
Mr. Blain was a treat to meet, and indulged my request for a quick portrait while he was working on the other side of the engine.
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holmertz (31226) 2013-10-28 13:03
Cars don't generally excite me much, but considering this one is more than 100 years old we're getting into history and culture, and that's an entirely different story. Since you also give us a fine portrait this is very much to my liking. Your choice of POV makes this altogether a different kind of car photo.
1911 and still going strong, that's incredible.
williewhistler (9819) 2013-10-28 13:46
I rather enjoy the way that you have managed to frame the gentleman within the engine components,he appears to be a most interesting character,as does the car!
Best regards Les
jcpix (6504) 2013-10-28 18:13
Over a hundred years old, are you kidding me? The car that is, not the man...although, what do I know...I suppose he could be!? :) I know as much about cars as I do quantam physics, which is to say "zero"...but what a terrific shot to have these two together in such a fashion.
This look from under the hood feels intimate and personal, a man and his car...much the same as mans best friend. Not only that, but you got him with such a great smile, adding a touch of class and warmth. There definitely feels to be a relationship between the two, and you've captured that sentiment here.
I may not know much about it, but it's neat to see the inner workings of this old timer. Amazing to think that it reached those speeds way back in the day! An image befitting its proud owner and history. Very well done!
Have a great day ahead. Take it easy amigo.
All the best,
Hanssie (10061) 2013-10-28 23:31
He, he, I really like how you used the car / motor
as the foreground for this portrait, superb photo !
Noel_Byrne (13234) 2013-10-29 1:25
What a car!! Close to 100mph, in a car over 100 years old? Now that is a testament to the car itself, and to the men who maintain it, impressive to say the least! I love that you caught this guy like this in the shot too, he could not be offering a more welcome smile that brightens the whole scene up superbly. Excellent idea and capture.
P.S. Many thanks for the kind words on Constance Lloyd, really glad you like that one. My most recent post of the Children of Lir was actually inspired by your recent Umlauf uploads so thanks for the recent posts you've made too, it got me to revisit a place I like very much. Have a good Tuesday
saxo042 (33878) 2013-10-29 2:13
A fine portrait of this man, I guess the cap he is wearing would be of the same model year as the car itself! A lot of interesting details and an interesting note!
ourania (18532) 2013-10-29 12:37
although I don't know about engineering and I can't even drive, I love cars. Can't explain why but I enjoy reading or hearing about them, maybe it's the passion of the people who care about them (as was the case of the GPW Ford in my previous posting). I missed an old car exhibition last summer in Leros, I'll either find them one by one or wait for another similar event to show you a few. In this picture of yours I like very much the way you framed Mr Blain's portrait with parts of his fascinating car. Most of all I like the directness, confidence and complicity in his expression. The workshop picture is well composed and shows that driving this car must be challenging and fun. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great day,
mesutilgim (72900) 2013-10-29 13:00
Not only the "portrait" at back but also the technique in the foreground is perfect ! A good TE entry with many interesting notes.
TFS and best regards
jadir (148) 2013-10-29 13:22
um bom retrato exelente idéia,muto bom ,obrigado por compartilhar.
photoray (6638) 2013-10-29 17:31
Excellent closeup of this ancient Indy Car "4 banger", for including the engine top with Mr. Blain - with a huge smile and rightly so. And amazing it still runs, a tribute to dedicated auto mechanics.
I have trouble replacing the windshield wipers, so I can appreciate skilled auto mechanics.
I have been personally getting toooo attracted to the new Corvette, and need to stop paying attention to their adds.
serp2000 (33061) 2013-10-29 20:57
He looks like a peer of this machine, Excellent portrait of Man At Work in this original frame. Fine technical details, interesting report. Well done!
abmdsudi (32471) 2013-10-29 23:45
So enjoyed your interesting write-up & links. An extremely pleasant Mr Blain, the proud owner showing the matured 100 horse power gal surprisingly full of torque for her age Russ! An excellent piece of close shot and bit of history of this quite sizeable antique 7 lit engine block! What a surprise wooden firewall - probably made of ironwood he he! (the most expensive and rare iron wood that never can catch fire only to be found in deep tropical forest in Kalimantan -Indonesia). A well taken shot in particular I love the subtle clarity and the cool colours, the framing is great putting all the emphasis on the engine but it also always amazes me how the owner looks after and keep this old model running and kept alive by mechanical wizardry. This is a great capture & great memories too of this meticulously mellowed gal. A marvellous shot and tx for sharing. Congrats
nikkitta (8885) 2013-10-30 16:58
Hola alumno Russ
I really don t care for cars, but love the very old ones, like this and also still running, same kind of exposition happened here 2 weeks ago, as is done each year, it rained , a pity, must be good to go
I understand you appreciated details of this cars (wooden firewall and so ,and so)
Creative frame, Russ, for the smiling owner
Un saludo desde el sur
rigoletto (32746) 2013-10-31 12:34
there we are, at the world of real man, not the ones made of stone ;)
strong portrait, i mean the idea. very cleverly done.
mcmtanyel (5173) 2013-10-31 19:04
A first class photo, excellently done. I like the DOF - great advertisement for Champion W16Y spark plugs!
fabbs99 (11030) 2013-11-01 23:20
Mr.Engineer and his devices.Nice colorful details and very pleasantly shown.Very well done, TFS.
- Copyright: Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) (1694)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-10-26
- Categories: Transportation
- Camera: Nikon D5000, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/80 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2013-10-28 12:32